Many of Ovechkin’s career milestones have happened with his parents, Mikhail and Tatyana, in the stands. Though they were in Moscow when their son tallied goal number 600, that didn’t stop them from penning an emotional letter on NHL.com/ru.
We wish you the Stanley Cup and the Olympic gold medal for full happiness. And most importantly, Sasha, is to stay healthy. If you don’t, there will be no sport, no prizes and no records. You need to take care of yourself and your body. You know better than anyone that when you have your full health, you succeed in absolutely everything in life. Because we know, son, how much you are capable of. And we always believe in you.
But perhaps the most interesting part of the letter, nestled between the congratulations and recollections of an already remarkable career, was the question that is now starting to seem more like a possibility: Will Alex Ovechkin surpass Wayne Gretzky’s career goal-scoring record of 894 tallies?
Everybody always asks if you can beat Gretzky’s career goals record. How many games did Wayne play? How many years did he play in the league? As we were told, Gretzky played nearly 1,500 games in the NHL. And you haven’t even played a thousand yet. There’s still time!
In the 2017-18 season alone, there’s still time for Ovechkin to reach 50 goals for the eighth time in his career. The Russian machine has 42 goals with 13 games to play in the season. Should he manage to hit 50, it would leave Ovi with 608 goals heading into the offseason. Assuming he plays the remaining three seasons of his Capitals contract in the NHL, at a conservative 36 goals per season, that would put The Great 8 at an astonishing 716 goals.
When Ovechkin surpassed 500 goals in 2016, Steve Dangle posted a video outlining the incredible feat he has already achieved. At that time, Ovechkin hitting 700 goals by the end of his NHL career, allowing for a regression to 25 per season, was being considered as his eventual, and final, goal-scoring milestone.
Now, if Ovechkin extends his NHL career for five more years and plays until he’s 40, continuing at that 36-goal pace, Ovi could eventually surpass Gretzky with a total of 896 goals.
Age regression has to happen sometime soon (right?), but Ovechkin has only dipped below 36 goals twice in his career so far. At this point, Ovechkin surpassing The Great One remains very unlikely, but I wouldn’t bet against him.
Ovechkin’s parents conluded:
It’s hard to say whether overtaking him should be your ultimate goal. Gretzky is Gretzky. He is a legend. Of course, if you manage to pass him, the moment will be truly historical. But you’re right that you do not live just for the sake of overtaking Wayne. It’s imperative that you know how to have fun playing hockey. It is such an important feeling. It is what allows you to score all these goals. That’s what creates that drive in you, not the need to overtake someone. Otherwise it would feel like there is a stone tied around your neck, and that is certainly not a good way of catching anyone.
Of course, we would love for you to overtake Gretzky. Let America and Canada know that we also have a strong hockey school. Russia is a hockey country, and our son is its ambassador in the best league of the world.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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